I think I’ve figured out why I am so uncomfortable being comfortable.
For a while it seemed that every time I let myself settle into the little nest I’d made for myself, something came along and shook my nest right out of the tree.
First, I lost my father.His death, in and of itself, wasn’t hugely life-changing…We weren’t super close and the older I got, the less I could tolerate his –isms (racism, sexism, zealous atheism) and phobias (agora- and homo-).But, learning everything I learned after his death shook me to the core. He wasn't a monster – just a broken man. And he wasn't just a family friend who became a father figure – he was my father (which made his molestation of me all the harder to deal with).
Then, while processing that, I lost a friend at my first job who I thought would still be in my life 10 jobs later.That made going to work and having to see him every day hurt like hell.At times, I wished I’d lost him to death, too, because then I wouldn’t have to see him and miss our friendship.. and be reminded of how IFUBARed it.
Eventually, about 2 years later, I left that firm and came to the one I’m at now.I had a new boyfriend, was enjoying my new job, and enjoying my new life.
And then I lost my mother.
Granted, Mom wasn’t well – mentally or physically. Nothing serious like cancer – I certainly didn't expect her to die that young. But she was just under 5' 2" and weighed close to 300 pounds – suffering from high cholesterol, edema, bronchial arthritis, misdiagnosed/poorly treated depression, agoraphobia, poor hygiene, insomnia, night terrors, delusions of grandeur, rage, self-harm, Type 2 diabetes, and (finally) blood clots. Losing her felt more like freedom than sadness.But, she left me with one hell of a mess to clean up – both figuratively and literally.And in the process, I lost a bit of my fragile new grip on sanity.First of all, I was suffering from PTSD – which I felt guilty admitting at the time.After all, as I told myself, PTSD was something you go through because of a trauma you survived – not something triggered by finding a harmless dead body.
That would be the first – of MANY – misconceptions I had about life. All of which were turned upside down after losing Mom.
It all worked out for the best – I’m a stronger and more confident person today that ever could have been with her constantly reminding me of reasons to be afraid and worried.But at the time, I wasn’t sure I was going to survive.I missed tons of work because of the various depressive episodes.I cried at work for reasons that, now, don’t even bother me.I didn’t sleep well, the rare times I would sleep.I had horrible nightmares that, only now, are starting to go away.And even now, when I smell that unmistakeable sulfery smell, I start to withdraw back into the memory of that Thursday evening when I found her…
But, Life goes on.
For reasons that still bewilder me, my boyfriend proposed 18 months after that.I became a mom about a year after that. And that happy/calm feeling kept sneaking up on me.I hadn’t let myself feel either happy or calm since before Mom died.I was terrified of letting it sink in because I didn’t want to lose any of what I was happy about.So trying to temper my joy at home and comfort at work led to something else:a breakdown!
I got a new diagnosis and a new medication – the right ones, it would seem.I started carefully letting myself feel something besides misery.Not happiness, mind you.And especially not at work.I liked my job too much to tempt Fate into take it away from me.
And then my favorite bosses left the firm.
Sure, they drove me nuts – S in particular.I still haven’t decided if he was a clueless dweeb or just a plain-old jerk.But, in all fairness, I’m sure I drove them equally as nuts – if not more so.It could be argued that we’re all better off now.They seem happy at the firm they’re at now.I’m definitely calmer now, without all of the work S would dump on me (and then forget he dumped it on me).But… I really did enjoy working with them. And I lost a part of my work identity when they left. And… I will always regret not letting myself feel the contentment I had while I had it.
I cried like a lovesick puppy when they left – and many times since then.I’ve been angry with them. I've hated them. I’ve demonized them.S, in particular, since he’s the one who hurt the most when he left (because he’s the one I liked the most).I’ve offered bargains to God to change things (turns out I had nothing he wanted).I considered making offers for bargains to Satan to change things (turns out he’s a lot scarier to deal with than any of the attorneys I’ve ever worked with). And I eventually – recently – forgave S and A for leaving…
Now I just need to forgive myself.
You see, I was pretty damned foolish. Trying to always temper my contentment with that self-preparation of losing it.And it didn’t prepare me a single bit.I wouldn’t temper my love for my son because of the fear (that all parents have, on some level) that I may lose him.So why temper happiness in other areas, because of a fear of loss?
I gave myself that special kind of pain that comes when you regret your own actions.Not only did I feel loss (of a feeling of camaraderie, of a fun and challenging position/environment, of a familiar role… and, honestly, of some very pretty faces who inspired me to better my own appearance)… I compounded that loss with the sad realization that I didn’t let myself enjoy the good moments I had when I had them.I kept clinging onto every tiny infraction – things that don’t even bother me now – to help harden my heart so I wouldn’t be sad if they ever went away.
Trying to keep a wall around my heart did nothing to prevent it from being broken again.In fact, it compounded what may have been a tiny fracture into a debilitating break.
Keeping out good things, because you’re afraid of losing them, only hurts yourself.
Anyway, I just wanted to share some an epiphany I'd been blessed with regarding my depression and coping processes… maybe it will help someone out there.If nothing else, it’s helped being able to write this post up.